Professor Karen Nelson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Southern Queensland
Professor Nelson commenced at USQ in February 2019 and as DVC(A) leads the Academic Division, which includes USQ’s two faculties, 12 schools, the College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research, and the Qld College of Wine Tourism; and the Education portfolio comprising the USQ Library, the Open Access College, Digital Life Lab and the Centre for Advancement of Learning and Teaching.
As head of the Academic Division, she is responsible for the quality of education and academic services, excellence in student outcomes and enhancing USQ’s reputation as a leading Australian university.
For nearly five years prior to joining USQ, Karen was the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at the University of the Sunshine Coast and in this role she was responsible for transforming USC’s approach to student learning engagement, success and retention.
A recognised authority in the first-year experience, and student engagement and retention, Karen’s research into the complex nature of the student experience has been instrumental in uncovering the factors influencing attrition and has advanced policy and practice nationally and internationally. Before joining USC, Karen was at QUT as Director, Student Success and Retention, and Director, First Year Experience, which followed a series of traditional faculty-based academic roles also at QUT. Her contributions to higher education have been recognised by three national awards for university teaching and in 2016 she was made Principal Fellow of the UK based Higher Education Academy.
Karen has been the chair of the Regional Universities Network DVC/PVC Learning and Teaching Group and Student Success Cluster since 2014. She is a member of HERDSA and serves the sector as the chief editor of Student Success: an open access journal exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education; and has been a member of the organising committee, Chair or Co-chair of the annual STARS Conference for more than 10 years.